Academic Policies and Procedures for Undergraduate Students
The following pages contain academic regulations and other information of interest to all students pursuing an undergraduate degree at Binghamton University. In addition to the all-University regulations discussed here, regulations specifically pertaining to the various schools at the University appear in the school sections later in the Bulletin. All students are expected to be familiar with the regulations in this section and in the section for the school in which they are enrolled, and are responsible for their observance. For interpretations of these regulations or for answers to questions about specific points of academic policy, students should consult the academic advising office of the college or school in which they are enrolled.
Students whose circumstances or aspirations are not covered by standard academic policies, or who wish to request exceptions to standard policies, may seek a waiver by filing a petition in the academic advising office of the college or school in which they are enrolled. If the initial petition is not resolved to their satisfaction, they may appeal according to guidelines available in each dean’s office. To aid students with their appeals, the Student Association provides an ombudsperson.
Binghamton University has had a General Education program for all undergraduate students since 1996. The State University of New York Board of Trustees, in December 1998, adopted Resolution 98-241 establishing a General Education Requirement for all baccalaureate degree candidates at SUNY’s state-operated campuses.
Undergraduate General Education Program
Convinced that there are several areas of knowledge and experience that ought to be central to the academic experience of every undergraduate student, Binghamton University has adopted a comprehensive General Education curriculum. This curriculum has broad goals. It is intended to help students develop:
- an appreciation of and capacity for effective personal expression;
- knowledge about various intellectual traditions;
- an understanding of and respect for different peoples and civilizations;
- knowledge of and appreciation for the natural world, achieved through active engagement with the methods and philosophy of natural science;
- logical thinking, balanced skepticism, and tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty;
- a knowledge of and appreciation for the arts and creative expression;
- skills needed to locate, evaluate and synthesize information from a variety of sources;
- skills needed to understand and use basic research techniques;
- skills needed to perform the basic operations of personal computer use.
To achieve these objectives, the faculty of Binghamton University require students to take courses in the following broad areas of learning:
Category 1: Language and Communication
Composition (C) courses are courses in any of the departments or divisions of the University. They require a process of revision and a minimum of 20 pages of expository prose. At least 50 percent of the course grade is based on student writing.
Oral Communication (O) courses involve at least two oral presentations and evaluation of speaking that count for at least 15 percent of the final course grade.
The language of communication for fulfilling both the C and O requirement shall be English.
Note: Composition and Oral Communication components may be combined to create Joint (J) courses.
Foreign Language skills are ensured by requiring that students pass either an approved third-semester college-level course in one foreign language or an approved second-semester course in two foreign languages, or satisfactorily complete some other significant activity that requires second-level foreign language proficiency as a prerequisite, such as study abroad in a non-English environment or an internship serving people who can communicate only in a language other than English. Students may fulfill the foreign language requirement prior to enrolling in college either by completing four or more units of one high school foreign language with a course grade in the fourth unit of 85 or better, or three units each of two high school languages with course grades in each third unit of 85 or better, by passing the AP examination (or its equivalent) with a score of 3 or better, or by demonstrating equivalent proficiency in some other fashion. For additional information, please see the General Education website at http://www.binghamton.edu/general-education/.
Category 2: Creating a Global Vision
The complexity of the modern world demands that students attain a heightened awareness both of the plurality of cultures that have contributed to the making of the United States and of the interdependence of the cultures of the world.
Pluralism in the United States (P) courses consider three or more cultural groups in the United States in terms of their specific experiences and how they have affected and been affected by the basic institutions of American society. Each course takes substantial account of at least three of the following: African Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, Latino Americans and Native Americans.
Most P courses assume a basic knowledge of United States history, as measured by demonstrating a level of proficiency equivalent to a score of 85 or above on the Regents examination on United States History and Government. Students who have not demonstrated this knowledge must meet the P requirement by choosing from among a designated group of P courses that pay significant attention to a broad span of United States history.
The primary focus of Global Interdependencies (G) courses is to study how two or more distinctive world regions have influenced and interacted with one another and how such interactions have been informed by their respective cultures or civilizations.
Category 3: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Mathematics
Students must have an understanding of the methods of investigation typical of the natural and social sciences and must be able to make individual observations and quantitative measurements in a hands-on environment in the natural sciences. In order to have the experience of discovery through the use of logic and reasoning, students also need to study mathematical methods and reasoning.
Laboratory Science (L) courses emphasize the formulation and testing of hypotheses and the collection, analysis and interpretation of data. Each course includes a minimum of 10 laboratory meetings, exercises, field studies or practica.
Social Science (N) courses emphasize the major concepts, models and issues of at least one of the social sciences.
Mathematics/Reasoning (M) courses include any course in the Mathematics Department numbered 130 or above, any of several designated statistics courses, or any of several designated logic courses. An Advanced Placement score of 3 or better in Calculus or Statistics may be used to satisfy this requirement.
Category 4: Aesthetics and Humanities
By taking courses in this area, students gain an expanded sense and understanding of culture and a greater appreciation of human experience and its expressions.
Aesthetics (A) courses enhance students’ understanding of the creative process and the role of imagination in it. Students study or practice artistic expression and production in such fields as art, art history, cinema, creative writing, dance, graphic design, music and theater.
Humanities (H) courses enhance students’ understanding of human experience through the study of literature or philosophy.
Category 5: Physical Activity/Wellness
Exercise, body awareness and wellness are essential components of a healthy and productive lifestyle. The dictum we follow is “a sound mind in a sound body.”
Physical Activity (Y) courses devote at least 50 percent of their time to the performance of physical exercise designed to develop one or more of the following attributes: neuromuscular skill, muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility.
Wellness (S) courses deal with such topics as diet and nutrition, physical development, substance abuse, human sexuality, relaxation or physical, mental and emotional fitness. Their focus is on developing a healthy lifestyle rather than on simply providing information about the human body.
The Physical Activity/Wellness requirement may be fulfilled in any of the following ways:
- Completion of a one-credit (or more) Physical Activity course and a one-credit (or more) Wellness course.
- Completion of a one-credit Physical Activity/Wellness course and one of the following:
- one-credit Physical Activity course;
- one-credit Wellness course;
- one-credit Physical Activity/Wellness course.
- Completion of a two-credit (or more) course that combines a physical activity and wellness.
Note: Physical Activity and Wellness components may be combined to create Physical Activity/Wellness (B) courses.
Restrictions and Exceptions
- Students may use appropriate transfer credits to satisfy particular course requirements. The determination of which transfer credits satisfy General Education requirements will be the responsibility of the evaluator of transfer credit in each of the undergraduate schools.
- General Education courses may also be counted as satisfying college and major requirements.
- Certain courses are designated as meeting the criteria for more than one of the General Education categories. When a course is so designated, students may use it to satisfy only one of the General Education course requirements. There is an exception to this rule: Composition (C), Oral Communication (O), Joint (J) and Foreign Language courses may satisfy either one or both of these requirements and also satisfy one other General Education requirement.
- General Education courses may not be taken Pass/Fail unless that is the mandatory grade option in the course.
- External examination credit earned through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) may apply to selected General Education requirements as specified. Appropriate AP credits or IB/HIB scores, in some instances, may be used to satisfy the following General Education requirements: Aesthetics, Foreign Language, Humanities, Laboratory Science, Mathematics/Reasoning or Social Science. Appropriate CLEP scores in Calculus may be used to satisfy the Mathematics/Reasoning requirement. Appropriate AP scores in American History or CLEP scores in U.S. History I or II may be used to determine proficiency for the Pluralism in the U.S. requirement.
- The Foreign Language requirement is waived for students in the Watson School engineering programs.
- The Foreign Language requirement for students in the Decker School of Nursing and the Watson School computer science program is fulfilled by one approved college course in foreign language at any level. This requirement may also be fulfilled in high school by demonstrating a level of proficiency equivalent to passing the corresponding Regents foreign language examination with a score of 85 or better (or, for students who did not take the Regents examination, completing three or more units of high school foreign language with a course grade in the third unit of 85 or better).
- The Foreign Language requirement for transfer students in the College of Community and Public Affairs, Harpur College, and the School of Management is fulfilled by an approved second-semester college-level course in foreign language. This requirement may also be fulfilled in high school by demonstrating a level of proficiency equivalent to passing the corresponding Regents foreign language examination with a score of 85 or better (or, for students who did not take the Regents examination, completing three or more units of high school foreign language with a course grade in the third unit of 85 or better).
- Courses that satisfy General Education requirements are so designated in the Schedule of Classes each semester, with the exception of the Foreign Language requirement. The code letter attached to a course in the Schedule of Classes means that the course fulfills the particular General Education requirement. For the Foreign Language requirement, a list of courses that will satisfy the requirement is displayed on the degree audit report.
- For all General Education requirements, a “course” is understood to be four credits. There are exceptions to this rule:
- transfer courses that earned three credits at the student’s original school;
- Physical Activity/Wellness courses (the specific credit-hour criteria for these courses are defined above);
- Laboratory Science courses of one and two credits that have a four-credit pre- or corequisite;
- Oral Communication courses of varying credits;
- schools or programs in which three-credit courses are the norm.
Summary of General Education Requirements
Oral Communication (O)*
Pluralism in the U.S. (P)
Global Interdependencies (G)
Laboratory Science (L)
Social Science (N)
Physical Activity (Y), Wellness (S),
Physical Activity/Wellness (B)
* Joint Oral Communication/Composition (J) courses satisfy both the C and O requirements simultaneously.
Determination of Graduation Requirements
Graduation requirements for the undergraduate schools on the Binghamton campus are listed in the individual school sections of the Bulletin. In general, matriculated students follow the requirements for graduation listed in the Bulletin current at the time they are admitted. However, students who interrupt enrollment for three or more consecutive semesters (not counting summer or winter terms) are governed by the Bulletin in effect when they are readmitted. Exceptions are made for students eligible to continue at Binghamton who are forced to leave because of involuntary recall to military service.
With the departmental advisor’s consent and approval from their college or school’s academic advising office, students may elect a later Bulletin under which to fulfill the degree requirements; they may not elect an earlier Bulletin, nor use a combination of requirements from different Bulletins.
No Bulletin more than 10 years old may be used under any circumstances. Should a student maintain continuous enrollment under a Bulletin older than 10 years, the Bulletin under which degree requirements are to be completed is determined by the advising office of the college or school in which he or she is enrolled, in consultation with the student’s departmental advisor.
Previously non-matriculated students who then matriculate are governed by the requirements of the Bulletin in effect at the time of their matriculation.
When courses required in older Bulletins are no longer offered, or in other special cases, course substitutions may be made with the approval of appropriate department chairs, departmental advisors or deans.
Changes in regulations concerning grading systems, withdrawals, academic actions, attendance at other institutions, etc., may be made by appropriate University governing bodies; they become effective on the date specified in the legislation. The University reserves the right at any time to make changes deemed necessary in the regulations, fees, courses or programs described in the Bulletin and to cancel any course if registration does not justify its continuance or if qualified faculty members become unavailable.
To receive a degree, students in the Decker School of Nursing or the School of Management must take at least 7-1/2 courses (30 credits) while in residence at their school. These 7-1/2 courses must be the last 7-1/2 courses toward the degree, unless students petition the appropriate academic advising office and obtain in advance an exception to this rule. Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science students must also take at least 30 credits in residence, all of which must be within Watson School. Students in the College of Community and Public Affairs must take at least 40 credits while in residence at the school. These credits do not have to be the last 40 credits toward the degree. Students in Harpur College of Arts and Sciences must complete a minimum of 44 credits in Harpur College in order to graduate. Please see the Harpur undergraduate section of the Bulletin titled "Requirements for Graduation" for more information.
Classification of Students
A student must pass a minimum of 24 credits to be classified a sophomore; 56 credits to be classified a junior; and 88 credits to be classified a senior. For this purpose, Incompletes are counted as credits passed.
The term “full-time” is applied to any undergraduate student carrying 12 or more credits, excluding audited courses. Undergraduate students are allowed to register for no more than 18 credit hours per semester, unless they have filed an academic petition form for an overload. Petitions to register for an overload are considered on an individual basis when submitted to the appropriate academic advising office.
Undergraduate courses carry varying credits, typically ranging from one credit to four credits. A course's credit assignment reflects an expectation concerning the typical amount of work to be completed by students both in class and outside of class; for each credit, students should expect to do at least three hours of work per week throughout the semester. The work distribution may vary widely between courses. In such courses as beginning languages and sciences, a course may have classes and laboratory sessions five or six hours a week. Other courses may meet three or four hours a week. In each case, the combination of time spent in class and course-related tasks to be completed outside of class are expected to engage students for at least three hours per week per credit hour.
Tutoring in various subjects is available free of charge to students through University Tutoring Services. The Writing Center is open to all students and offers students free assistance in improving their writing. Student Support Services provides drop-in tutoring under the Guiding Undergraduates in Learning Directive. More information is available online at http://www2.binghamton.edu/academics/provost/undergrad/tutoring.html.
Transfer of Credit
Once students are matriculated at Binghamton University, they may obtain credit toward graduation for courses taken at other institutions. The awarding of transfer credit is determined by each undergraduate school. We do not specifically list offerings at other schools in the Binghamton University Bulletin or elsewhere on the University website; however, courses taken at other accredited colleges and universities can most often be entered as transfer credit. Evaluations are completed in the advising office of each school. Questions regarding transfer credit decisions may be discussed with your academic advising office.
Before any courses are taken elsewhere, students should submit a “Petition to Take Courses at Another Institution” form. The student should submit the form to the department or school in which they are enrolled, or to the academic advising office of the school, for prior approval.
Transferred credits are adjusted when the credit system at the other institution is different; e.g., credits taken under a quarter system rather than a semester system are transferred to Binghamton at two-thirds of their quarter-credit value. In general, credits may be transferred only if they were earned for courses that are essentially theoretical rather than practical in nature (e.g., not practice teaching or typing courses), and if the student received a grade of C– or better, or the equivalent (C or better for students in the School of Management and the College of Community and Public Affairs).
These guidelines apply to courses taken at other institutions during a summer or winter session, correspondence courses, online courses, study-abroad courses sponsored by other units of the State University of New York, and courses taken through the National Student Exchange Program (which involves a semester or a year of study at one of many participating schools).
Students participating in study-abroad programs sponsored by American universities not a part of the State University of New York system, as well as students studying for a time at a foreign university, should first obtain approval from their academic advising office. Upon completion of the semester abroad, the student should request that the institution attended send a transcript or official grade statement to the appropriate academic advising office at Binghamton University.
Progress Toward Degree (Degree Works Audit)
All undergraduate students at the University are encouraged to print a degree audit report in BU BRAIN Self Service via the Portal at http://my.binghamton.edu.
The degree audit report shows students what program requirements have been completed and what requirements must still be met before a degree can be conferred. If students have questions regarding the degree audit report, they should consult with a professional advisor in their college or school, or with their departmental advisor for their major.
Double Degree Program
A student may earn separate baccalaureate degrees in very different fields by completing a significant amount of work (typically 30 credits) beyond that required for one degree and satisfying requirements for both degree programs. Only two degrees may be earned simultaneously; exceptions to this policy will be considered on an individual basis. Students who successfully complete one or two degrees may pursue an additional baccalaureate degree in another very different field of study by completing additional academic work (again, typically 30 credits). This requires the submission of a new application to the desired school. To learn more about requirements and application procedures, students should contact the academic advising office of the college or school in which they are enrolled.
The Schedule of Classes is available online in BU BRAIN Self Service via the Portal at http://my.binghamton.edu. This site lists the courses offered as well as course meet times, instructors, number of credits, General Education indicators, course descriptions, etc.
Course Numbering and Prerequisites
All Binghamton University undergraduate schools use a course numbering system from 100 through 499. While each school may define the tiers more specifically, all schools define 100-299 as lower division and 300-499 as upper division.
Harpur College Numbering System
100-199 Introductory courses, normally with no prerequisites, open to all students.
200-299 Intermediate courses, with or without prerequisites.
300-399 Intermediate courses, normally with prerequisites.
400-499 Advanced courses with specific course prerequisites.
Professional Schools’ Numbering System
100-199 Lower-division introductory courses, no prerequisites, open to all students.
200-299 Lower-division intermediate courses, with or without prerequisites.
300-399 Upper-division intermediate courses, intended primarily for juniors and seniors, with prerequisites (courses, class standing or special permission).
400-499 Upper-division advanced courses, intended for seniors, with specific course prerequisites.
Within these levels, certain numbers are set aside to indicate particular learning experiences: A course number ending in “91” indicates a teaching practicum course; “95” indicates an internship course; a “97” indicates an independent study course; “98” or “99” indicates honors or thesis work.
Program planning must include the early identification of, and registration for, prerequisites to courses that the student intends to take at a later date. When there are special reasons, students may register for a course without having completed the prerequisites, provided they first obtain the consent of the course instructor.
Undergraduate Degree Completion Policy
Completion of undergraduate degree requirements and all academic work pertaining to completion must be submitted prior to degree conferral. Academic work refers to study-abroad courses, courses taken at other institutions and courses taken at Binghamton University. All incompletes must be finished and missing grades posted before a degree can be conferred. Faculty should submit the grades for any incomplete or missing grades within 72 hours of the work being received and evaluated. Substantive changes are not to be made to any student record after a degree is conferred.
Financial aid recipients: A student who completes the academic requirements for a program is not eligible for further Title IV federal aid for the program.
Credit by Examination
Credit for knowledge gained outside the classroom may be obtained through Excelsior College Examinations (formerly known as Regents College Examinations) and through subject-based College Entrance Examination Board (College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP) examinations. Credit earned through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, U.S. Armed Forces Institute/Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Services (USAF/DANTES), examination credit from other institutions and through correspondence may also apply to degree credit. Up to 32 external examination credits may be accepted; however, each undergraduate school within the University determines the number and kind of credit that counts toward its degree.
School and/or departmental policy governs acceptance of these exams for major credit. (See the section titled “External Placement” in the Admission section of the Bulletin for a discussion of these exams and of International Baccalaureate credit.)
Academic Progress and Standing
To remain in good academic standing, students must demonstrate that they are passing courses at a satisfactory rate to earn a bachelor’s degree in a reasonable period of time; that is, they are required to show a reasonable rate of progress toward their degree. Students in all schools must maintain a satisfactory grade-point average. Academic progress is reviewed at the end of the fall and spring semesters. If students fail to maintain satisfactory academic standing, they are subject to dismissal. For detailed information on how academic standing is computed in the various undergraduate schools, see the individual school sections in this publication.
Grade-point averages are computed for students in all of the University’s undergraduate schools.
For the purpose of computing semester or cumulative averages, each letter grade is assigned a quality point value as follows:
A = 4.0
A– = 3.7
B+ = 3.3
B = 3.0
B– = 2.7
C+ = 2.3
C = 2.0
C– = 1.7
D = 1.0
F = 0.0
These grade values are combined with course credit hours to produce a grade-point average.
Students may not gain additional credit by repeating an undergraduate course in which they received a passing grade, except where an exception is noted under a particular school's policies. Please refer to your school's grading policies in this publication for further information.
Academic Probation and Dismissal
The academic standards committee of each school determines policies by which students are placed on academic probation when academic performance, as reflected in the grade-point average, raises doubts about the student's capability to complete requirements for the bachelor's degree. Academic probation does not imply either suspension or dismissal, and does not preclude the student's registering or receiving financial aid. Academic probation ordinarily entails a contract with the student to complete a specified amount of coursework in a specified period of time at a specified level of performance.
Students are subject to academic dismissal from the University at any time their record warrants. Students dismissed for academic reasons should contact their school's academic advising office for any conditions to be satisfied before re-enrollment is permitted.
Confidentiality of student records is maintained in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). (See the Binghamton University Student Handbook.) Additional information is available at the Registrar's website at http://www2.binghamton.edu/registrar/services/ferpa.html.
Dropping a Course
Students who wish their records to indicate good standing when dropping a course or withdrawing from a semester must follow formal drop and withdrawal procedures. Mere absence from class does not constitute due notice of drop or withdrawal. Students are advised to check the school sections in this publication for additional information regarding the regulations.
In general, undergraduates may drop a course up to the published course drop deadline. Such a course will not appear on their academic record. After the drop deadline, and until the course withdraw deadline, students may drop a course and receive a grade of "W". After the published semester course withdrawal deadline, students must have the consent of the instructor and the appropriate academic advising office on an approved Late Withdraw Petition Form to drop the course with a "W". Students must cite extraordinary circumstances to justify a late withdrawal from a course, that is, circumstances beyond their control and beyond their ability to foresee. Poor judgment or academic incompetence does not qualify as extraordinary circumstances. The Late Withdraw Petition Form may be obtained from the academic advising office of the college or school in which the student is enrolled. (Check for online forms available for each school.) If the petition is approved, the student must pay a $20 late drop/withdraw fee to have the late drop/withdraw petition processed.
General Readmission (or Reenrollment) Policies
Candidates matriculated for undergraduate degrees, who interrupt their education at Binghamton University and later wish to return, must be formally reenrolled. The exception is for students who withdraw from all classes during a major (spring or fall) semester. These students are eligible to return and can stop out for two consecutive semesters without having to go through a reenrollment process. Students who must be reenrolled should go to the admissions website, http://www.binghamton.edu/admissions/apply/ for instructions and appropriate form. Students must complete and file the reenrollment form no later than two weeks before the start of classes for the term in which they plan to return.
Continuing education (non-matriculated) students may also interrupt their studies for as long as two major (fall or spring) semesters without having to file for formal reenrollment. After two semesters have elapsed without enrollment, a reenrollment form must be completed no later than two weeks prior to the start of classes for the desired semester.
Note: All students enrolled in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at the time studies were interrupted must receive clearance from the director of EOP in order to resume their studies.
Students dismissed for academic or other reasons should contact their college or school’s academic advising office for any conditions to be satisfied before readmission is approved.
All Decker School of Nursing students must file for readmission and have an interview at the school before reenrolling. Further details may be found in the Decker School of Nursing readmission section in this publication.
Depending on the demand for on-campus housing, a space in one of the residence halls may not be available for re-enrolled students. First priority is given to reenrolled students who have left the University due to health reasons or to participate in a study-abroad program. Students may contact the Office of Residential Life to obtain more information.
All students wishing to take advantage of state and federal funding options, such as grants and student loans, must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov after January 1st each year. The recommended FAFSA filing date is April 1 for students planning to reenroll for the fall semester. Students planning to reenroll in the spring semester should file by November 1. Students can still apply after these dates but funding for need-based financial aid is limited, and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
To receive federal and/or state funding, students must meet general eligibility criteria established by both agencies and coordinated through Financial Aid and Student Records. In addition, students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). To review SAP requirements for both federal and New York state funding, go to http://www2.binghamton.edu/financial-aid/services/academic-progress/index.html.
For additional information about funding your Binghamton University education, go to the Financial Aid Services main webpage at http://www.binghamton.edu/financial-aid/.
Off Campus Housing
For off-campus housing information, readmitted students may view the Off Campus College (OCC) website at http://www.binghamton.edu/occ/. The site includes the OCC Housing List and an Apartment Complex Listing that advertise available rental units in the community surrounding the University. Also included is a Housemate/Subletter Listing containing information from current off-campus students seeking to fill a vacancy in their rental units. For additional information about off-campus housing, contact OCC at 607-777-2768 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.